by kristin j. larson | October 1, 2014 | People
Thirty-three years after moving to Chicago's North Side, designer Richard Dayhoff continues to find inspiration in this vibrant nook of the Windy City.
Designer Richard Dayhoff has lived in Lakeview East for 18 years.
Since moving to Chicago in 1981, designer Richard Dayhoff has undergone a fashion evolution. Initially focused on womenswear (his eponymous label has been sold in more than 300 stores around the world), he’s changed his focus over the last five years to zero in on men’s underwear and T-shirts. “With womenswear, I got to the point that I could do it in my sleep,” declares Dayhoff. “Menswear is more about educating, and that’s what I like because I think it gives you more of a challenge.”
Dubbed “ath-leisure” wear and designed for the active man’s lifestyle, Dayhoff’s new collection is made in the USA using the eco-friendly fabric Tencel and can be found on notable Chicagoans such as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ryan Chiaverini of Windy City Live, and even Stedman Graham, Oprah’s other half. (“The customer I attract is an educated guy who considers this the first layer of fashion,” Dayhoff says. “If he’s wearing luxury and lives that lifestyle, why would he be wearing Hanes?”)
While the neighborhood is becoming less bohemian, its comfortable vibe hasn’t changed.
While his fashion ambitions have changed, one thing that has remained constant for Dayhoff is his passion for his Lakeview East neighborhood. He explains how he found his own form of “church” in the 60657 zip code and shares the places where he’s always up for a night on the town.
Intelligentsia has been a neighborhood mainstay for nearly two decades and still draws a crowd of local characters.
“Lakeview East is so casual. There’s fashion in this neighborhood, but it’s comfortable. It’s so chic in its own way because it has its own place. I live in a Mies van der Rohe building, which is like living in a museum; I love the pure minimalism of the architecture. The whole place is filled with artists. My view, as I sit on a mat in the morning and meditate, is the entire lake. I feel like I’m in this inland sea. It’s inspiring. The energy hasn’t changed from when I first moved here in 1981; there are still the anchors of this neighborhood. The restaurants have changed, but my favorites are timeless, and they’re not the ones that just came in that everyone is running to at the moment. I’m all about permanent style, so it’s the same with the neighborhood. “Intelligentsia has been here 19 years, and I’ve been going there since day one. When it first opened, it was more bohemian. People would sit around on the couches and you’d talk. It was almost like church—like a congregation. My favorite thing to do is hang out on a Saturday with the locals, having coffee, talking about our week. One of my favorite friends is Bobo, and he’s 90. He comes here every day about 1 or 1:30. And then there’s Louis, who is in dental school, and he’s about 30. There’s this whole cast of characters. It’s the heart of the neighborhood.
“There’s a restaurant at Addison and Broadway called Angelina Ristorante, and it’s been there forever. It’s just really good, simple Italian food that always is consistent, not like a restaurant that’s doing Italian that has a twist of this, a twist of that. It’s sort of like fashion: There are new designers every day, there are new restaurants every day, and we embrace them and we’ll try a new collection, we’ll try a new dress.... We’ll try a new restaurant, but will they sustain? Angelina’s is tried and true. Ask for Philip and tell him you know me.
Zeglio offers bespoke clothing with superlative quality and “no bells and whistles.”
“Zeglio does bespoke clothing, where they make the pattern from scratch. A suit is like a bottle of wine—do you want a $2.99 bottle, or do you want luxury? I’ve worked at this company, and it’s so relaxed. That’s why the guys love coming in here—there aren’t any bells and whistles. They don’t come in because they’re looking for fabric, just fit. Now the owner has locations in Toronto, Africa, and South Korea, but it started with Lakeview East.
“I’m vegan, so I’m very much about being minimal and clean, and City Harvest Cafe does the most amazing raw press: They make their own almond milk, and everything’s organic. They’ll have kale, spinach, ginger, and they’re $10, but you drink your meal and it’s amazing. It’s a husband-and-wife team, and it differentiates itself from everything else. This is the new boutique, the new collection. They’re like fast fashion—like Creatures of the Wind.
“My favorite bar—you either know about it or you don’t—is called Wang’s, and it’s next to the restaurant Wakamono. They have DJs in from New York, and anybody that’s in creative arts knows about it. There’s a little naughtiness, too: You’ll be sitting at the bar, and all of a sudden you’ll see a little picture of a male nude! When people who dine at Wakamono go there afterwards, often the woman will go to the restroom and when shes comes out, she’ll say to her husband or boyfriend, ‘Oh my God, that restroom!’ because it’s wallpapered in ’70s male porn. They push some buttons in there, but it’s creative.
The Nettelhorst French Market sells fresh herbs and flowers every Saturday.
“The other place I love to death is the Nettelhorst French Market. Every Saturday I’m there. Nettelhorst is the best school in the city: It’s so creative, and they have all sorts of art programs. They host a small French market with a fresh flowers vendor, cheese vendor, jewelry designer, herbs and oils…. There’s nothing like it in the whole city. It’s such a gift to have in the neighborhood.”
photography by galdones photography (sign, fruit, neighborhood); damien thompson (dayhoff)
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